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Old Feb 7, 2013, 10:00 AM   #1
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The Road to Recovery: Advanced Manufacturing

What are your thoughts on this article?

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America can turn a slow recovery into a strong comeback, one that grows our economy and firmly reestablishes our country as a powerhouse of ideas and production. One of the keys — and what will determine the winners and losers of an exciting new era — is our willingness and ability to lead the next “big waves” of productivity.

There are four new drivers of productivity, and success in each depends on the technology and talent we develop. The first is how shale gas is changing the energy debate and the balance of energy power. The second is the Industrial Internet — owning and connecting the analytical layers around industrial products in order to improve performance and efficiency. Next is speed and simplification: the only way to serve our customers better is by working faster and smarter. The last driver and the focus of a forum GE is convening today, is advanced manufacturing. Manufacturing excellence, forgotten for too long, is once again a competitive advantage.

Manufacturing is still an essential driver of the U.S. economy, employing about 12 million people in America, or 9 percent of the workforce. It generates $1.7 trillion in value each year, and manufactured goods account for 53 percent of all U.S. exports. Seventy percent of private sector spending in research and development in the U.S. comes from manufacturing companies. Manufacturing also has an outsized impact on our economy as a whole. It is responsible for roughly 7 million American jobs in other industries, and every dollar in manufacturing sales generates $1.34 in output from other sectors.

Despite all of this, companies have historically outsourced critical capabilities in their supply chain and focused too much on cheap labor rather than speed, innovation and market access. As a nation, short-term gains fooled us into believing that we could build a sustainable economy solely based on service jobs. We also didn’t fully appreciate the negative effect that poor labor/management relations and eroding “systems of competitiveness,” from the regulatory environment to education, had on our ability to innovate and grow the economy.
For those of you who don't know, Jeffrey R. Immelt is the CEO of General Electric corporation. Currently there is a conference going on in D.C. to discuss this very subject.

I mostly agree with what he's written here, and I think that manufacturing should lead the way in retooling our economy.

There is also another article here which discusses some legislative things that are being looked at to help train and employ a skilled workforce.

One of the things I strongly agree with, and unions can help promote, is apprenticeships.

The idea of go to high school, go to college, get a 4 yr degree, get a job is a faulty one if we're going to have a strong manufacturing base here in the United States. College, while valuable, does not currently teach technical skills that we need. Obviously excluding doctors, nurses, STEM, etc...

Here is a good paragraph from the article:

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To build a strong workforce, Congress should invest $2 billion to expand the Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship to support an additional one million apprentices annually.Today there are just 400,000 registered apprentices in the United States—approximately 0.25 percent of the overall labor force. Compare that to Germany’s system of apprenticeship training, which supports 1.8 million apprentices and includes approximately 500,000 private companies. Expanding the apprenticeship model will help us build a skilled and experienced labor force in high-growth industries such as advanced manufacturing.

We should also implement the President’s $8 billion proposal for a “Community College to Career Fund,” which would encourage collaboration between community colleges and businesses in training our future workforce, allowing two million workers to get post-secondary credentials over the next three years.
I think it's very interesting to note the difference between US and German apprenticeship. We can learn from our German friends here, I think.

What are your thoughts?
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Old Feb 10, 2013, 10:12 AM   #2
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I'm sad nobody thought this was interesting
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Old Feb 10, 2013, 11:02 AM   #3
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I'm sad nobody thought this was interesting
Must have missed it the first time around. Usually just click on top few threads in prsi. Anyway, the saying "we don't build anything in the USA anymore" is very sad. Of course we do but nowhere near enough as we should. If we want to send the cheap, easy manufacturing overseas, then we need to fill that hole with more skilled manufacturing. That's why I think we need to spend more and more on space travel. Build everything here, and have all our bored millionaires spend some of their money on new, exciting vacations to space stations and the moon. Even flights just to the edge of our atmosphere would be a big sell. The chance to go zero g and look down on all the little people!
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Old Feb 10, 2013, 11:17 AM   #4
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I agree. I think that we have the capability to sustain manufacturing in this country, but we need to focus on education and training as well. You can't just have everybody going to school and getting liberal arts majors and not working jobs related to that area, or doing research. It's an underutilization of resources.
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Old Feb 10, 2013, 11:32 AM   #5
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I agree. I think that we have the capability to sustain manufacturing in this country, but we need to focus on education and training as well. You can't just have everybody going to school and getting liberal arts majors and not working jobs related to that area, or doing research. It's an underutilization of resources.
Absolutely. This fantasy of everyone in this countries needs a college education is ********. It leads to unnecessary, unplayable debt and for what? The guarantee of a job? Hardly. The smartest guy in my department was the one who didn't go to college. He gets the same pay and never had any student loans. New girl next to me(freelance of course), 120K in student loans for a job she could be trained to do while doing or, at least, gone to a one year tech school.
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Old Feb 10, 2013, 11:46 AM   #6
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Absolutely. This fantasy of everyone in this countries needs a college education is ********. It leads to unnecessary, unplayable debt and for what? The guarantee of a job? Hardly. The smartest guy in my department was the one who didn't go to college. He gets the same pay and never had any student loans. New girl next to me(freelance of course), 120K in student loans for a job she could be trained to do while doing or, at least, gone to a one year tech school.
Yeah and I think that's where apprenticeship would help.
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Old Feb 10, 2013, 12:56 PM   #7
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Absolutely. This fantasy of everyone in this countries needs a college education is ********....
So's the idea that our work force only consists of people with college educations or that we don't have a technically skilled workforce. Companies like GE aren't building their plants overseas because they can't get quality workers in the USA, they're doing it because they can hire cheaper labor abroad and our tax structure facilitates it.
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Old Feb 10, 2013, 12:59 PM   #8
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So's the idea that our work force only consists of people with college educations or that we don't have a technically skilled workforce. Companies like GE aren't building their plants overseas because they can't get quality workers in the USA, they're doing it because they can hire cheaper labor abroad and our tax structure facilitates it.
BUT, as you may have read or saw, they are moving advanced manufacturing operations back to the US because of quality and intellectual property issues.

I think GE is currently working on, or is building two new aircraft engine plants (or perhaps it's just the production) back here to the US.

The jobs being sent over seas are low wage, low skill, labor intensive jobs. Good riddance. Don't need them, don't want them. What we want and what we need are manufacturing jobs requiring technical skills that aren't available overseas.

We need more people going to school to be engineers, too.
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Old Feb 10, 2013, 02:57 PM   #9
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...The jobs being sent over seas are low wage, low skill, labor intensive jobs. ...
Certainly they're low paying oversea, which is one major reason why GE has been building plants overseas. When those jobs were at plants in the USA they weren't low paying.

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they are moving advanced manufacturing operations back to the US because of quality and intellectual property issues.
"intellectual property issues" may be forcing them to locate these jobs in the USA, but if GE could find a way around those legal issues, they'd be sending these jobs abroad too.

Northern California was a center for high tech manufacturing, until the tax policies that promote globalization were enacted. Those good paying and skilled jobs went overseas. You mentioned aircraft manufacturing; Southern California has been a center for aircraft manufacturing but over the last couple of decades that has been vanishing as those jobs have gone overseas, leaving a highly skilled workforce without work.....these are exactly the type of job you mentioned.

Far more important than apprentice programs is a tax policy that encourages companies to keep these jobs at home instead of making it easier to increase profits by sending them abroad.
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Old Feb 10, 2013, 10:23 PM   #10
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...Far more important than apprentice programs is a tax policy that encourages companies to keep these jobs at home instead of making it easier to increase profits by sending them abroad.
Why not both?
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Old Feb 10, 2013, 10:40 PM   #11
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Why not both?
both which?

do we actually have a need for more of this type of workforce or do we already have plenty that are currently unemployed and looking for work? If GE needs skilled employees for aircraft manufacturing they'll find plenty in California
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Old Feb 10, 2013, 11:21 PM   #12
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both which?

do we actually have a need for more of this type of workforce or do we already have plenty that are currently unemployed and looking for work? If GE needs skilled employees for aircraft manufacturing they'll find plenty in California
It seemed like a false dichotomy between tax policy that encourages 'insourcing' and a new 'apprentice' program, but I see what you mean here. If the first is fixed, the second is unnecessary to some extent, especially in California.
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 11:04 AM   #13
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Absolutely. This fantasy of everyone in this countries needs a college education is ********. It leads to unnecessary, unplayable debt and for what? The guarantee of a job? Hardly. The smartest guy in my department was the one who didn't go to college. He gets the same pay and never had any student loans. New girl next to me(freelance of course), 120K in student loans for a job she could be trained to do while doing or, at least, gone to a one year tech school.
University education is not about getting a job. The goal of university education is to enrich the person, not a corporation or a economy. It is only because beancounters want to put a monetary value on every aspect of our society that we have come to believe that university education is actually employment school. It isn't. That does not mean it is worthless....
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 11:15 AM   #14
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University education is not about getting a job. The goal of university education is to enrich the person, not a corporation or a economy. It is only because beancounters want to put a monetary value on every aspect of our society that we have come to believe that university education is actually employment school. It isn't. That does not mean it is worthless....
But the problem is that you have to pay so much, whether it's paid by the government or not, to enrich people.
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 02:42 PM   #15
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But the problem is that you have to pay so much, whether it's paid by the government or not, to enrich people.
Agreed. But then again people pay for material possessions like houses and cars that depreciate and can be taken from them. Education can't. It all depends on what we value and how much we value it.

FWIW university tuition has increased year on year well above inflation. In part this is due to governments withdrawing money, but in part it is because academics and academic have become greedy and have their snouts in the trough. As long as students can get cheap loans, there is nothing to prevent this. Only when there is an outcry will the system re-balance itself (for instance spending money on teaching in proportion to the amount of university income that comes in from teaching).
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 04:30 PM   #16
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University education is not about getting a job. The goal of university education is to enrich the person, not a corporation or a economy. It is only because beancounters want to put a monetary value on every aspect of our society that we have come to believe that university education is actually employment school. It isn't. That does not mean it is worthless....
In a perfect world maybe...In the USA, people go to college to get a job. If this wasn't true, people would continue enriching themselves for the rest of their lives, taking liberal arts classes for years and years. They don't. They want a job. Not enrichment. They take the minimum amount of "enrichment", liberal arts type classes that they have to and concentrate on their major.
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 04:33 PM   #17
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I'm sad nobody thought this was interesting
I made my stab here.
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 06:18 PM   #18
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Since this thread is about the economy, making it better and improving the workforce, this might be the place to discuss the three day work week
Every time there’s an economic downturn, the debate over a shorter work week becomes a hot topic. It’s back again with a report from the New Economics Foundation which claims that cutting employee hours nearly in half can cure what ails the global economy. The British think tank’s “21 Hours” study begins with the assertion that:
A 'normal’ working week of 21 hours could help to address a range of urgent, interlinked problems: overwork, unemployment, over-consumption, high carbon emissions, low well-being, entrenched inequalities, and the lack of time to live sustainably, to care for each other, and simply to enjoy life."
In an interview with the BBC, “21 Hours” co-author Anna Coote claims a radical rethinking of the work week would benefit both employers and workers, saying “we could even become better employees—less stressed, more in control, happier in our jobs and more productive.” Meanwhile, the foundation’s policy director Andrew Simms went for the crowd-pleaser: “Hands up who wouldn’t like a four day weekend?”

Since the current recession began in 2008, human resource experts in the U.S. have been tossing around this same idea. ...even President Obama’s own economic team doesn’t believe his stimulus package can heal the job market anytime soon.

A big concern for employers, particularly in a failing economy, is whether shortening the workweek reduces productivity... Interestingly enough, according to Aaron Newton, author of The 4 Day Work Week: Working to Live, Not Living to Work, a recent survey of more than 10,000 workers revealed that on average, people spend more than two hours each day on personal matters while at work. That adds up to 10 hours a week. The study shows that a four-day workweek wouldn’t necessarily reduce production if the focus remains on work."

... this debate has been going on for nearly a century in the United States. In fact, it was 1926 when Henry Ford famously predicted that “the short week is bound to come because without it the country will not be able to absorb its production and stay prosperous.”

It could be that the Great Recession forces a major rethinking in our basic notion of the work week. There are only so many creative alternatives to layoffs, and shorter hours at least offers a certain win-win situation.

"When firms can deliver the message that their employees are human resources, rather than human costs or liabilities, they see higher profitability, productivity, quality, customer satisfaction and employee loyalty over the long term," (U of Mich) Professor (Kim) Cameron said.
hopefully I did not abridge this too much
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Old Feb 11, 2013, 06:40 PM   #19
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I made my stab here.
Sorry I missed it
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 06:10 AM   #20
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In a perfect world maybe...In the USA, people go to college to get a job. If this wasn't true, people would continue enriching themselves for the rest of their lives, taking liberal arts classes for years and years. They don't. They want a job. Not enrichment. They take the minimum amount of "enrichment", liberal arts type classes that they have to and concentrate on their major.
In your opinion perhaps. However, I was educated in the US and I did not see my education as a way to a job. The same is true for the rest of my family who remain in the US. Unless one studies business, accounting or other professional degrees, it is rare for people to get jobs in the topic they majored. People from liberal arts institutions are hired not because of what they know, but because they learn well.

In this regard, people do continue to enrich themselves through education after they graduate by reading books, going to museums, traveling, watching documentaries, exploring the web etc. etc. etc. That enrichment has a very real economic value that has nothing to do with having a job.
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 06:17 AM   #21
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In your opinion perhaps. However, I was educated in the US and I did not see my education as a way to a job. The same is true for the rest of my family who remain in the US. Unless one studies business, accounting or other professional degrees, it is rare for people to get jobs in the topic they majored. People from liberal arts institutions are hired not because of what they know, but because they learn well.

In this regard, people do continue to enrich themselves through education after they graduate by reading books, going to museums, traveling, watching documentaries, exploring the web etc. etc. etc. That enrichment has a very real economic value that has nothing to do with having a job.
Anecdotal of course, but typically every person I know whom has obtained such a degree has definitely not continued to enrich themselves through education. Most of them aren't even critical thinkers. I know or understand more than many of my friends do about their own subjects. We have people getting poly-sci degrees who still think that red/blue is the only thing going on in the US.

I think that in a perfect world people continue to enrich themselves. But i think that in today's not-so-perfect world, they go through school, finish, and then they are just don't with scholarship.
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 07:39 AM   #22
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In your opinion perhaps. However, I was educated in the US and I did not see my education as a way to a job. The same is true for the rest of my family who remain in the US. Unless one studies business, accounting or other professional degrees, it is rare for people to get jobs in the topic they majored. People from liberal arts institutions are hired not because of what they know, but because they learn well.

In this regard, people do continue to enrich themselves through education after they graduate by reading books, going to museums, traveling, watching documentaries, exploring the web etc. etc. etc. That enrichment has a very real economic value that has nothing to do with having a job.
I'm willing to bet that more people -by far- in the USA go to college in order to find work after. Not to be better people. You are right, a lot of people wind up in other fields - part of my reasoning that college is not as important as people think it is. Employees want college degrees not because it shows an enriched person, they do simply because that's the way it is. I don't want to bash my fellow countrymen, but enrichment is simply not high on many people's priority list.

Aha! 80% according to this poll, go to college to get work

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobile..._n_558200.html
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 09:49 AM   #23
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Sorry I missed it
This is an observation, corporations are tasked with making money and making the current and recent crop of upper level management wealthy. Loyalty? Patriotism? Pishaw! Gordon Gecko: "Greed is good!" How true, at least as a mindset existing in executives. Because it's good for them.

In the case of the U.S., manufacturing will come back when high tech machines can do it cheaper than a Chinese worker and a low tech machine. What I think this means is that China will suffer what the U.S. (and Europe?) suffered when those jobs evaporated here. Not that all manufacturing is gone. I believe the U.S. is still a major manufacturing center if not the leading one. But what it does mean is that it won't be the source of large numbers of manufacturing jobs as it was in the 20th century.
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 10:01 AM   #24
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This is an observation, corporations are tasked with making money and making the current and recent crop of upper level management wealthy. Loyalty? Patriotism? Pishaw! Gordon Gecko: "Greed is good!" How true, at least as a mindset existing in executives. Because it's good for them.

In the case of the U.S., manufacturing will come back when high tech machines can do it cheaper than a Chinese worker and a low tech machine. What I think this means is that China will suffer what the U.S. (and Europe?) suffered when those jobs evaporated here. Not that all manufacturing is gone. I believe the U.S. is still a major manufacturing center if not the leading one. But what it does mean is that it won't be the source of large numbers of manufacturing jobs as it was in the 20th century.
Personally I've never been under the impression that those jobs were/are ever going to come back, and if they do, it'll be under terrible circumstances. It's just the nature of advancement. Those workers will have to find other means to work.
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Old Feb 13, 2013, 06:14 AM   #25
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Anecdotal of course, but typically every person I know whom has obtained such a degree has definitely not continued to enrich themselves through education. Most of them aren't even critical thinkers. I know or understand more than many of my friends do about their own subjects. We have people getting poly-sci degrees who still think that red/blue is the only thing going on in the US.

I think that in a perfect world people continue to enrich themselves. But i think that in today's not-so-perfect world, they go through school, finish, and then they are just don't with scholarship.
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I'm willing to bet that more people -by far- in the USA go to college in order to find work after. Not to be better people. You are right, a lot of people wind up in other fields - part of my reasoning that college is not as important as people think it is. Employees want college degrees not because it shows an enriched person, they do simply because that's the way it is. I don't want to bash my fellow countrymen, but enrichment is simply not high on many people's priority list.

Aha! 80% according to this poll, go to college to get work

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobile..._n_558200.html
Depressing if true, and it sounds like it is. I know people have to get a roof over their heads, eat, pay bills etc. But honestly, I personally believe that going to university would be a mistake if all a person wanted was a job. To me it's bigger than that. A person is not a job and a job is not a person, but I fear that is the point to which we are coming. :/
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